Shaking beef

Shaking beef

Leanne Kitchen

This is another well-known and totally delicious dish from Vietnam, although it’s also hugely popular in Cambodia, where it’s often served with a fried egg and nearly always made using the peerless local spice, kampot pepper. In those countries, beef tends to be chewier than the meat we are used to, but we quite like using a really tender cut of beef (like sirloin or eye fillet) – or even venison – for this dish. It gets its name from the way you shake the pan or wok to cook the meat evenly.


Quantity Ingredient
750g beef or venison fillet, trimmed and cut into 3 cm pieces
2 tablespoons clear rice vinegar
60ml clear rice wine
2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
3 teaspoons caster sugar
60ml vegetable oil
2 red onions, halved and sliced
50g butter, chopped
2 large bunches watercress, sprigs picked, to serve
sesame seeds, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce


  1. For the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the meat and toss to coat well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2–3 hours.
  2. Put the meat in a colander over a bowl and drain well, reserving any marinade that drips through the colander.
  3. Combine the rice vinegar, rice wine, lime juice and sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat half the oil in a wok over high heat. Add half the meat and half the red onion and cook, shaking the wok to keep the meat turning over, for about 4 minutes or until the meat is cooked through but still a little pink in the middle. Add half the butter and 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar mixture and shake the pan to combine well. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the wok, then add the remaining red onion and meat and cook, shaking the wok, for 4 minutes or until the meat is just cooked through. Add the remaining butter and 1 1⁄2 tablespoons more of the vinegar mixture and shake the pan to combine well.
  6. Put the watercress on a serving platter, put the meat mixture on the top then drizzle over the juices from the wok, Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve immediately accompanied with any remaining vinegar mixture to add to taste.
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